ME + me : Good ME-news, hyperintelligence and lively programming
Christopher Langan, who had a troublesome youth, with a violent stepfather; very much disliked academia; and worked for several decades as a bluecollar worker, notably as bartender and bouncer (which I definitely agree are far more interesting occupations than "an office job").
Somewhat interestingly, both Vos Savant and Langan are not prominent academics at all, which supports several points including the following two: Having a very high IQ is neither the same as having a very high intelligence (yes, Virginia: there is a positive correlation, no doubt), and academia is in many ways not a nice place to make one's living, while academics are at least as envious and backchatting as non-academics, and on average hardly much more intelligent or different.
Incidentally, if you are gifted (or think you are), there are interesting things to be found on the internet about the problems and characteristics of the gifted, while here are three of their marks, that in my case and my experience, constitute quite a large and typical difference:
Very highly intelligent persons usually
The first is mainly because they think that way too, and much like to speak that way. It often makes for problems, because more ordinary people, including most academics, just can't do it at all, and certainly not as well, and therefore they feel outdone, condescended to, or simply can't follow, whereas the highly gifted are very quickly bored with those who are not. (Incidentally, this has not much to do with liking them (or not), and one may like, admire or be pleased with a person for lots of reasons, some of which have not much to do with intelligence. Even so, ordinary conversation is very boring for truly gifted people, which makes for problems because conversing is what most people like to do almost the most of all things they could do and in fact probably do more than almost anything else.)
The second is a defining characteristic, and no one who is highly gifted for reasons not related to trauma (*) is without it (if not seriously traumatized or ill, of course): The highly gifted really want to understand things, to know why things are as they are, and are much pleased by finding things out, also if this is not itself 'original research' in any useful sense. As artists are supposed to care for art for art's sake, the highly gifted care for understanding for the sake of understanding - which, incidentally, is quite uncommon, also in the ordinary or lesser breed of academic, for ordinary folks do not seek for knowledge because they want to know, but seek for knowledge pragmatically, and for other reasons, positively phrased by Comte: "Savoir pour prévoir; prévoir pour pouvoir." (Knowledge for foresight; foresight for power - to get what one wants besides knowledge.)
The third is also quite typical, except in very well-trained consciously performing highly gifted: Just as ordinary folks think nearly all the time in terms of wishful thinking, and in terms of whether some belief they consider fits their values and prejudices, highly gifted folks tend to think logically, and in terms of whether a belief they consider is true or probable in any rational sense. And combined with the first characteristic I mentioned, this means that the highly gifted often are or can at least be far more of themselves than ordinary folks, who have learned from childhood that it is safer to appear normal, especially if one is nothing special to start with, and who posture nearly all the time, especially if they assure a public they are authentic. (**)
Anyway... this is a topic I will return to (***), though it cannot be of real interest to most. I do want to say one thing though, in case you happen to be a parent with what may be a very gifted child (chances are you are a mistaken but well-loving parent): Try to provide a private education, home schooling, or indeed emigration if that saves them from having to attend a beliefs-&-attitudes-factory for ordinary folks and standard would be academics.
3. Lively computing and programming
I love logic and I do like programming, albeit not in all languages, not constantly and not for money: Programming is applied logic with both instant built in gratification, namely if it works as one planned, and continuous lessons in morality and the handling of frustration, namely if it doesn't work as planned.
One language + programming environment I have been seriously interested in, and that I still follow, if not very attentively, is Smalltalk (<-Wikipedia), and in particular Squeak (<-Wikipedia). The Smalltalk language is a fine programming language, and the Smalltalk environment is a fine programming environment, and indeed much more than that, for it is effectively its own operating system, and especially Squeak, that dates to 1996 and is Smalltalk 80 extended with Morphic to do graphics-programming, is especially powerful because of Morphic - but also is flawed in a number of respects, or so I think.
I have outlined what I saw as the flaws in my BitsAndPieces, namely in About Smalltalk, in About Squeak, and in More about Squeak, all dating back over three years now, but without having lost my taste for the language and the sort of "programming on the fly" that Smalltalk and especially Squeak enables.
Well... while I do not believe the above linked pieces have been read by very many or have been effective (apart from inspiring some nice e-mails to me), it seems that one of the great men behind Smalltalk, namely Dan Ingalls (<- Wikipedia) has reached a number of the same conclusions as I have, and what's much more: he has done quite a lot about it.
It also was developed after Smalltalk, but was inspired by it and an offspin of it and by Lisp-like languages such as Scheme, and is a present undoubtedly the most used programming language in the world, since it can be used for all manner of things in browsers and so on the web
Here are a number of interesting links with some comments - and what follows is very probably not for you if you can't program at all, or have little knowledge of it:
I liked all of the above, and anyone who can program at least fairly well may like the linked videos also. Others will find little or nothing of interest, I'm afraid. Even so, the Lively Kernel is a very interesting project, that still is ongoing, and that I like a lot, so that I can also assure you that (i) yes, it works: you can dowload it from LivelyKernel.org as a zip, unzip it and it will start in a browser (both in Firefox and Seamonkey in my case), but (ii) as is, it probably will do little for you if you are not familiar with Squeak (<-Wikipedia), for there is not much help available.
Anyway... The Lively Kernel is along the lines of what I think Ingalls and the original Smalltalk-team that created both Smalltalk and Squeak should have done instead of Squeak, as I argued in About Squeak three years ago.
P.S. Well... this was mostly about my own interests, and these are different from the interests of most. Incidentally, I was no prodigy, but for those who are interested - and it is an interesting theme - here is a list of child prodigies from Wikipedia.
P.P.S. It may be I have to stop Nederlog for a while. The reason is that I am physically not well at all. I don't know yet, but if there is no Nederlog, now you know the reason.
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